Our son recently just turned 18 months! The second year has been interesting, and full of developments and changes. They’re still kind of babies, but also toddlers. I will fully admit that months 13-16 were not my favourite ones. I found that transition period of baby to toddler difficult. My son got 9 teeth in that time period, he screamed a lot as he tried to learn to communicate,  he learned to climb, walk and run and dropped to one nap. There was so much development happening, that it felt like a whirlwind. It was a whirlwind. Don’t get me wrong, there was so much magic and those developments were incredible to observe, but when I look back on the past 18 months, those were the months that felt like they challenged me (and him) the most.

One thing that is so incredibly bittersweet about parenthood is that each stage has something you want to hold onto forever. And something you are repeating “This too shall pass” on repeat.

And now, that we are in the 18-month zone, I find myself favouring this stage and wanting to hold on to so much of it! The explosion of words, the snuggles, the antics, the learning and exploring. It’s so fun!

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So at 18 months, what do I want to hold onto forever? What am I excited about moving past? What do I have a love-hate relationship with?

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Word Development – I love W’s words for everything and watching him try and repeat everything. Some of my favourites are:

DIE! – which means, outside. The onlooker may be confused by my toddler shouting “Mama DIE!!!” at me.

Right der – which means, “right there”. He will tap his hand if I’m putting lotion on him, or his nose when you ask him where he wants a sticker placed.

Ha-oT- which means, “hot”. He’s really working hard on his huh sounds and it’s so adorable.

I du which means, “I love you”. I mean, your child saying I love you? Puddle.

Pees! and Dank du – which means, “please” and “thank-you”. He’s getting pretty good at saying thank-you without being prompted, and with reminding his little stompy please is ridiculously cute too.

A pause in teething – W is not your star teether. We never said “Oh wow another tooth!”, it was always “Finally! It’s FINALLY THROUGH!”. There were months we had Tylenol every single day, and often we had to layer with Motrin. Sleep was a disaster. So, now that he has his first 16 teeth, that pause in medicine and painful cries and horrid sleep is beautiful and a deserved break for us all.

Sleep – I have to remind myself sometimes that my son is doing incredibly well in his development everywhere but sleep. It’s just the thing that’s taking him longer to develop, and he’s on the lower end of the sleep need spectrum. If you have followed my posts in the past, sleep has just always been our biggest struggle and challenge. Now that teething has paused, it’s getting better (he still wakes 2 times a night on average). We still haven’t achieved that coveted STTN. I share this to remind other mamas out there waiting for that day to come, you’re not alone! I know he’ll eventually get there. This too shall pass. I will sleep again one day. One day. I’m mostly at peace with it (I think that’s the 4+ hour stretches of sleep I’m starting to get again) and have found new depths of patience in myself through the process.

Breastfeeding – I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding. We’ve wound down a lot; however, it is clear that we are very far off from W ever self-weaning. So, I need to facilitate it/push it if I want to wean. Which some days I do, and some days I don’t. I worked so hard to make it to a year of breastfeeding, that making it to the other side I find myself asking, “Well, now what?” The concept of weaning is so incredibly emotional and complex. File that one under the emotions I never knew existed until I became a parent.

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Watching their interests develop – I love watching W develop interests. His favourite toys are animal and dinosaur figurines (side note, he often makes them give each other kisses and it’s adorable), puzzles, and balls. His favourite thing to do ever though is to be outside. He would spend the entire day outside if we could, and the warmer weather has been amazing for all of us.

Showing them the world – Oh how I adore sharing the world with my toddler. My mom watches W twice a week and has an aquarium app on her iPad that she shows him the fish (“ish!”) on. He loves watching for the shark. We recently went to Toronto for a night and took W to Ripley’s Aquarium. He loved it. I loved showing him real fish and sharks! Sharing the world with him just fills my heart with the utmost joy.

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Understanding –  Achieving the stage of being able to share simple sentences and having W understand feels triumphant as a parent. “We need to get your shoes on before we go outside” and having W run and get his shoes and sit down to have them put on. Or, “We’re going to see Grammie!” and he understands. “Are you hungry?” and having a yes or no response. These are the things that made months 13-16 difficult for us, and having the words and understanding makes our lives run much much more smoothly.

Bedtime routines – Bedtime leans heavy on me and while I adore that sweet time with my son, it’s another love-hate. The monotonous nature of rushing to get your child to fed and into their nighttime routine and to sleep every single night before missing your perfectly tired window is one thing that kind of sucks about being a parent. And, I know this “this too shall pass” part of parenting is far far away.

Affection – My son is incredibly affectionate at times, and that sweetness I could bottle up forever. I love unprompted kisses, the way he gives hugs, how he will run over to sit on my lap, or snuggle his head into that special spot on my chest. That feeling and need/want from my child is the one I never want to let go of.

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His humour – I don’t think this one is going anywhere becuase it’s been everpresent, but W is so funny. He is a little entertainer and makes everyone around him laugh. I love watching this blossom and laughing together.

Picky eating – W was a star BLW eat everything baby. Now that we are in the toddler stage and his desire to express autonomy is growing, he has become a picky eater. It’s a stage that isn’t the most fun, and can be a bit draining at times to have him refuse even our sure thing meals, but this stage has been improving for us (again, this was particularly bad months 13-16) and he is starting to eat more again.

And that’s the high and lowlight reel of life with W at 18 months.

What do you want to hold onto forever right now? What are the things you’re waiting to grow past?